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What Are The Insurance Requirements For A Pool Fence?

Many insurance companies have different requirements when it pool fence regulationscomes to pool fence specifications. One thing is certain; all insurance companies require a fence around pools to reduce liabilty.

What I mean by pool fence requirements is that the height, material, size and spacing specifications may vary with each insurance company.  Most of the insurance conditions depend heavily on the locality in which the pool and fence is being installed.

It is very important to keep in mind that though the insurance provider or locality requires you to have a specific fence installed, you must also check with any Homeowner’s Association (HOA) and the Building Owners and Code Administrators (BOCA).

A growing number of people are aware of currecnt code which requires that a pool fences must be at least 48 inches tall. This is good, however some insurance companies recommend that you do at least a 6 foot high fence, if allowed by the HOA and your locality, in the hope of reducing any risks that may be associated with the insured’s pool. Additionally, many insurance companies require the homeowner to have a pool gate with a lock to keep unwelcome swimmers out. Gates of pools must also meet specific pool gate codes. Please note that if you have a fence that has been installed that does not meet BOCA, locality or HOA specifications your may required tearing it right back down. 


Spacing for fence cross bars (laterals) is another key issue forspear top fence insurance companies and BOCA. Be aware of the 45-inch rule! Because pool owners are told they need at least a 48 inch tall fence they are often left unaware of the 45-inch minimum space separation on the lateral bars to be in compliance.  This is only applicable if the vertical pickets are more than 2 inches but less than 4 inches apart. This may sound very vague, but the goal of this spec is to prohibit fence climbers form gaining a foothold to leap across the fence. If you are installing a spear top fence (right) to adhere to the 45-inch vertical spacing rule, you must actually install a 60 inch high fence to meet code.  You could choose to have a flush bottom rail or a modified bottom rail, but just remember the spacing between the bottom rail and the middle rail must be at least 45-inches.

As always, there are exceptions to the 45-inch rule. Generally you must check your local codes to verify that this does indeed apply to you; if the spacing between the upright pickets is less than 2 inches, the rule no longer applies.

Are you totally confused yet? The Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) outline strong safety measures for swimming pool safety fences. Many communities have adopted these standards as their own in a effort to reduce and eliminate the possibility of drowning of children.

The most important things to remember when installing a pool fence are:

  • The fence must be at least 48” tall
  • The mid-rail must be at least 45” above the bottom rail
  • The spacing between pickets must be less than 4”
  • The spacing between the bottom rail and the ground must be less than 4”
  • The gates must be self-closing and self latching
  • The gate needs to open out and away from the pool area
  • The opening mechanism must be at least 54” above ground.

If you keep all of the above in mind you should have no problem installing your pool fence. Additionally, a professional pool or fence company in your community should be able to direct you in the proper fence installation. Make them do their job to protect your pocket, your family, and the neighborhood children by meeting the sometimes stringent local and insurance pool fence codes.

Article contributed by fence professional Tina Parrish.


Wow, great info!! I didn't even realize how important fence considerations are when insuring my pool. Thanks
Posted @ Wednesday, October 13, 2010 11:28 PM by Bill Smith
Thanks for your visit Bill! Yes, insurance is very important component of the pool fence.... It is second of course to safety, but homeowner liability very serious business.
Posted @ Thursday, October 14, 2010 9:17 AM by Dawn Lowndes
A Yard feance is adequate enough unless you have samll children. Pool fenses close to a pool are unslightly, and if the yard fense to keep strangeres out is not enough, a pool fense around the pool is OVERKILL. Insurance companys shold make sure thier are pillows covering all tile flooring incase someone falls, or netting under tree branches incase a branch breaks, or nets under second story balconys incase somoen climes over and falls. It's all over kill.
Posted @ Thursday, May 26, 2011 3:22 PM by Mark
Mark, really? You know how many kids die a year because there is no fencing around a pool, alot. Its heartbreaking to lose a young child because your dumb neighbor doesnt have a fence around their pool. Ofcourse you will say its the parents fault for not watching their kid 24/7 when they are playing in their own backyard.
Posted @ Saturday, June 04, 2011 7:59 PM by ron
We have a previously existing (we put in a black aluminum fence 4 years ago) aluminum fence which encloses our backyard. We recently put an in the ground pool into our yard. The Pool Contractor was mistaken about our fence meeting code; the space between the rails is only 40 inches and requires the 45". Is there a way, other than completely replacing the fence, to make it come to code? Could we install pool safety mesh around the outside to prevent a foot hold of a small child? I am aghast that it did not pass. Our neighbors on both side have our fence as borders to their yards and both own pools. I am baffled that we failed inspection. Please help.
Posted @ Monday, July 18, 2011 3:33 PM by Rebecca Macri
Response for Rebecca  
Each area has its own code as far as mesh goes. You should be able to use black vinyl coated chain link 1¼’’– 2¼’’ (depending on code). This would probably be the most esthetically pleasing solution. For more options I would need to see pictures of the fence that was installed.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 19, 2011 1:34 PM by Dawn Lowndes
I am curious how many kids actually die because of no fencing - expecially versus those that die due to lack of supervision, versus those that died when there was fencing, versus any of a hundred tragic ways that children can die. How many proper car seats could be bought and given away with the money wasted on unnecessary pool fneces? The only interest is lower legal costs in liability claims, not preventing deaths. Otherwise, the insurance companies would probably spend money on teaching swim skills to kids.
Posted @ Thursday, August 18, 2011 10:03 AM by Charlie
This topic seems to have sparked a tremendous amount of thought. I guess the political and social reasons to specify code for a pool fence is of interest. It may or may not be real social value to insurance companies, however pool codes are the law by recommendation of localities. It is good to know that the fence industry has responded with a variety of styles to meet pool fence code and the pool-owner's aesthetic.
Posted @ Thursday, August 18, 2011 10:20 AM by Dawn Lowndes
Very interesting. Haven't yet found out who insures them, but I'll keep trying.
Posted @ Wednesday, January 18, 2012 11:11 AM by
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